BEAUTY PAGEANT ROW: What do we want our children to become?

I write with reference to your article last week (Pageant picks its belles of the ball, H&H July 16). The sexulisation of little girls is deplorable. I judge a society to be civilised by the extent to which it allows its females their childhood. A beauty

I write with reference to your article last week (Pageant picks its belles of the ball, H&H July 16). The sexulisation of little girls is deplorable. I judge a society to be civilised by the extent to which it allows its females their childhood.

A beauty competition for little girls is not something that one would expect in this, the 21st Century, where the value placed on girls should not be the extent to which they are going to appeal to males.

However, it not the only anachronism. here in the UK. We have been silently acquiescing with a different cultural approach to the sexualisation of little girls. We have at the moment a very British Muslim affectation not practiced in the most draconian of Muslim countries, that of little primary school girls and even pre-school girls protecting their sexual modesty with a headscarf.

This way of seeing the girl child as a danger to men's self control and expecting her to take responsibility for this and to cover herself, is truly unpalatable. We have been hoodwinked into believing this is to be a religious requirement, which indeed it is not.


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We do seem to be confused about where we want to be with regard to our little daughters in this so-called modern liberal democracy. There is at the moment hysteria about paedophilia; we have authors in protest about having to declare themselves not to be paedophiles in order to enter a school to read a book, yet we can have children in those very schools dressed provocatively or seen to be so dangerously sexual that they have to be covered up.

Both of these ways of dressing little girls is part of the same dynamic: the perception, by men, of their being sexual.

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Please let's be grown up and let our daughters have their childhood without worrying whether they are sexy, or so sexy that they have to be covered up, or not sexy enough to be of any interest to men.

If we are to have a balanced society we need women who as girls have had the freedom to develop their whole personality and who do not see themselves merely as sex objects but complete people, who will become doctors, nurses, lawyers, politicians, shop keepers plumbers, judges, teachers, explorers and, if they so wish, mothers - this being their choice, not a patriarchal diktat.

Elaine Chambers.

(address supplied)

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